Monday 1 April 2024

50 years of Fylde

Almost book ends of the half century of Lytham St.Annes Corporation. 1935 Lion 34 and 1970 Atlantean 77 pose with employees at Squires Gate Depot on its closure in April 1999. (Paul Turner)

1st April 1974 saw the implementation of part of the 1972 local government act. This involved a new structure of county and borough councils and had two main impacts locally:

Blackpool County Borough council became a borough council with Lancashire County Council taking on some functions. Fylde Borough Council was formed to replace Lytham St. Annes Borough, Fylde Rural and Kirkham Urban District councils. 

The act had an impact on many local council transport operations. Some were merged - eg Blackburn and Darwen and also Lancaster with Morecambe and Heysham. 

Others were renamed Accrington becoming Hyndburn and Lytham St. Annes becoming Fylde. The impact on Blackpool was less visual but it gave Lancashire and influence especially when money was required. This was perhaps most obvious in the 1983 network review which saw changes to the joint 11/11A and the extension of Blackpool’s 22/22A to Lytham. This reduced duplication and increased coordination. Nothing is forever and in 1986 bus deregulation saw the two council owned companies compete aggressively. Then in April 1998 another reorganisation saw Blackpool become a Unitary Authority taking functions back from Lancashire. Imminently a combined authority will bring everything back into one authority again - until the next change. To muddy things further by 1994 Blackpool Transport owned by Blackpool Council had taken over Fylde Transport once owned by Fylde Council!

So locally the main change in 1974 was the Lytham St. Annes buses became Fylde Borough Council’s Transport Department. Other than an instant application of a simple FYLDE fleet name, before the application of FYLDE BOROUGH and a new crest in 1975 little changed.

Five Bristol REs were unusual purchased by Fylde in 1975 but lasted a good life running until 1993. Sadly non survived into preservation. (Paul Turner)

Two coaches arrived with an avant garde livery variation of a mustard stripe on the traditional blue and white in 1974 and this became the standard livery. Ribble retained responsibility for the services in more rural Fylde - though Blackpool provided a link to Staining. It was in 1978 that the blue buses extended out beyond the Lytham boundary into Fylde when its route 3 (Spring Gardens - StAnnea and Lytham) was merged with Ribble’s bus to Wesham as the 193.

We are fortunate to have a fantastic collection of Lytham St.Annes buses preserved and mostly restored. There are four from the 1930s (3x Lions and 1x Titan), four post war Titans (plus a fifth ex Warrington), six Atlantean double deckers and one single decker plus a Delta from 1991 a Seddon RU from 1972.

Fylde 77 on standby at Lowther Gardens as a relief bus for Lytham Club Day

Fylde Transport Trust has just repainted Atlantean 77 to its 1977 guise in Fylde’s blue white and yellow livery. Many others represent Lytham’s classic blue and white livery while three have the later two tone blue livery. 

FTT is also working on bringing back into use Lytham Lion 34, PD1 19 and PD2 70. 

Lion 24 restored

Lion 34 restored under attention

Lion 44 awaits restoration 

Titan 45 under restoration

Titan 19 restored under attention

Titan 10 restored

Titan 24 restored in Warrington livery

Titan 61 awaiting restoration 

Titan 70 restored under attention

Atlantean 77 restored

Seddon 47 under restoration

Atlantean 79 stored 

Atlantean 71 restored

Atlantean 96 under restoration

Atlantean 44 under restoration

Atlantean 45 restored

Delta 3 restored as Blackpool 133. 

Atlantean single deck 7 restored